Tag Archives: tensta

Yet another woman caught between West and Islam!

This morning I was watching the film “Women on the border to West(ern societies – free translation of me) a film from Dilsa Demirbag-Sten on the PLAY Axess TV channel, via the web. Among the ones whose situation was addressed was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman whose viewpoints I recently wrote about (here). The reason for showing this movie on Axess was the newly released book by Dilsa called “The Fatherland – Fosterland”.

Dilsa Demirbag Sten born 10 October 1969, is from Kurdish background and was born in southeastern Turkey. In 1976 she came to Sweden and was raised here. She is an author and freelance journalist. At early age she was “given” to be engaged against her will but broke the engagement and escaped a forced marriage. She moved to Stockholm, where she worked for the National Theatre, Amnesty International and became advisor to Minister for Integration, Leif Blomberg. She has committed to the fight against the oppression of women and honor related violence. Demirbag-Stone is a liberal and Islam critic. She is involved in the atheistic Humanist Association and claims to work for a secular, democratic and equal society.

I appreciate her fight against Islam fundamentalism and the way women and girls are abused within that system. The film is an eye-opener which should be “compulsory viewing” for every politician and people working within areas of social welfare and integration.

While I was still reviewing some of the pictures and stories in my mind, I met an older woman in Tensta this morning. She also was born in Turkey, like Dilsa. However, she was born in an Orthodox Christian tradition. “Pray for us” she told me, “because it is so hard for us here in Tensta as Muslims take over more and more. You Western people have no idea how they think and how they do… we have some experience from that back home; that’s why we are here. Now the same thing is going to happen here!” (For the reader; an Arabic prince Adbul Aziz Ben Fadh, son to Saudi Arabians former king Fadhwants wants to build a mosque in this part of the city by donating 400 million Swedish kronor, (60 million dollars). The prince already helped to built mosques in Los Angeles and Edinburgh.

When will we learn and when will we listen? This older Turkish woman’s cry for help (and prayer) was resembling the cry of thousands of unheard voices of women (and men) who are entangled in the web of exclusion of Muslim faith and control, removing more and more people into isolation and segregation.

That’s the Way I experienced it…


Vårdnadsbidrag; conviction, trap or reaction?

The daily Christian paper Dagen and other media (here and here) write about how many parents use the special financial support of 3000 kronor which they can receive during a three year period if they take responsibility and care for their children instead of enrolling them in a pre-school.

There are big differences between the different districts in the greater Stockholm area. As my wife and I raised our children we wanted to remain at home as long as possible with them because of conviction; we wanted to give personal input and time for our children. This time we would never be able to give again in the same way in the latter stages of their lives. Svenska Dagbladet describes the Jenemark family which has a similar approach as ours. In the Stockholm area 7% of the parents have chosen for this opportunity.


The findings also show that in the inner-city area of Stockholm many parents have decided to use this chance, I have to add though that for many people “living in the inner-city implies having a good income”. Many of the inner-city dwellers are high-educated, well paid professionals. They have the possibility and extra resources to make ends meet based on one (higher) salary and the 3000 kronor extra. Many others, middle class families, who might want to use this possibility, will not be able to make ends meet since they might have lower salaries.

The same research shows however that in the (poorer) suburbs many parents take the opportunity which is offered. As I spoke the other day with a person responsible in one of the mentioned suburbs this issue came up.

  • After out talk I considered this issue and realized that many especially Muslim families use this as an opportunity to maintain their traditional / cultural lifestyle where the mother remains home with the children. I find this also to be true among (conscious) Christian families who want to spend more time with their children. However, there is more to it than the eye can see… among the immigrant (Muslim) families it is not the traditional women-trap (as different political parties might call it), there is the segregation trap where women are kept away from society and thus from culture and language learning which enhances the element of isolation.
  • Another element that I consider is that of the strongly secularized (anti-belief) attitude which we find in our schooling system which is a threat to traditional values that many of our immigrants carry with them out of conviction or cultural background. Thus leading them to react against “the way of doing things in Sweden”, pushing them in a fundamental role and position.
  • This is one of the elements that influence the growth of- and return to fundamentalism; the threat of secularism pushes them into the opposite direction further than they have ever experienced before!

That’s the Way I see it!

John van Dinther

Does evil make us human?

Paul W. Kahn’s first sentence in his book “Out of Eden” says: “Evil makes us Human”… writing such a statement surely calls for attention! Göran Skytte’s article in SVD “Personal evil is a reality” already releases responses of people who do not believe in the personal character of evil and declare it to be metaphysics.

Every single day all of our moral sensitivities are challenged by the depth of human depravity and the tremendous scenes of deep traumatic human suffering. What kinds of world are we living in where predators go after the most vulnerable and exposed people; the children, the suffering, the young and the poor? Ethnic cleansing, suicide bombers and people in power in Burma who allow the same people they are called to lead and protect, to expose to a potential genocide?

Even the places once thought safe, like school, home, church, and small towns, have all been penetrated by an evil presence that has created a culture of fear, hatred, and blame. We are left to make sense of it all and often look for someone to blame.

There the question might come in: How does God draw near to deal with the problem of evil?

I don’t try to say that there are easy short-cut answers to be found on all aspects of human suffering as we experience it. Questions like, “why was I raped and abused as a child?”, “why did my parents have to die in a tsunami?”, or “why do the rulers in Burma allow their people to die by not allowing help to flood in?”, make it clear that there are no easy answers resolving all “why” questions. Yet as a Christian I can speak in general terms about living within the remnants of a fallen creation which is marked by chaos and disorder, and deeply disfigurement by the horrendous effects of sin’s deformation of God’s original intention (Genesis 3).

Depths of human wickedness may take various forms, “the line between good and evil is never between ‘us’ and ‘them’, the ‘poor’ and the ‘rich’ , the ‘criminal’ and the ‘saint’, or the ‘left’ and the ‘right’, but runs through the heart of every individual and every society”.

The most sensitive, the most moral and the most religious persons among us are not immune from the influence of evil. The apostle Paul acknowledges that though he “wants to do good”, evil continually to take over the best of his intentions (Romans 7:14-24). There is a constant battle for those who wish to do good, and we should never play down personal evil as if it were the problem of a few, while the rest of us are immune (Romans 3:23). There are simply no easy answers that effectively tackle the way of evil in our world.

The fact is (and we are all aware of it ): evil is not limited to the personal level: it has possessed the corporate world through greed, the political world through power and ambition, and the institutional church through preserving the appearances at the expense of people. It takes the form of social injustice that promotes racism, poverty and the marginalization of various groups.

Evil sometimes wears a suit, lives in luxurious apartments in the inner-city districts of Kungsholmen and Östermalm in Stockholm while driving their BMW, but it is also dominant in the high-rising apartment buildings in Tensta, Botkyrka or Rinkeby where new Swedes try to make themselves a living and home.

Evil can also hide behind a success driven, consumer friendly, image conscious, program based church that exists for its own sake. And, we ought not to be surprised because “even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

So what can we learn from the Bible about God’s way of addressing the problem of evil and shattering its horrible effects? Through Jesus, God’s justice takes on human flesh as Jesus came down to the earth and encounters the effects of evil with a holiness that produces cleansing, a power that breaks down the very strongholds of evil, and a Kingdom that provided a vision of an alternative way.

His presence exposed institutional corruption, and challenged the Roman Empire with an alternative Kingdom. The climatic exhibition of Jesus’ victory over personal, cosmic and global evil comes at the cross, when dark forces come together in personal betrayal and denial, institutional terrorism and threats, and political power-games and violence.

This is the way evil works in the world, and Jesus seems to be no match before these dark and accusing forces. But when taunted to use his powers for personal deliverance he refuses to play their power-games. When he is insulted and mocked, he refuses to allow tensions by hitting back in the same spirit. Instead, he answes their evil intentions with a real call for forgiveness, that has the potential of crushing evil’s deadly grip. Yes, in the darkness of the occasion even Jesus felt somehow abandoned by God – “My God, my God why have you forsaken me” Mark 15:34. In the end it was Jesus who was in control and calling the shots. Evil had taken its best shot, but even a Roman centurion had to admit, “Surely this man was the Son of God”.

Could it be that a sign of God, a sign of change has come down in the person Jesus Christ as he broke down the personal and corporate evil in our time and age?

I believe so and that’s the Way I see it!